Natural Dreamwork with Mary Jo

a new year’s return…

(encore post)

That which I want to carry forward into this new year is not a resolution.  There is something about being resolute that can feel willful, heavy handed and unmoving. We judge ourselves, lose faith in who we are and feel we must take charge. So we make harsh rigid rules for ourselves and then feel like failures when we can’t keep up with the inner taskmaster…and end up feeling even more alone…and on our own. We can be so hard on ourselves…so unkind…all ways that the soul is not.


The dream teachers in my own dreams and those of dream clients do not ask us to be resolute. Rather they invite us to return to something…some thing we have forgotten about ourselves, about how much we are loved and supported, to return to our true selves…our soul selves. They want to help us remember…


And this invitation in the dream appears in startling ways as our dream teachers often come in outrageous garments…a menacing figure, an abandoned child, a sexual come on…all to invite us to feel something.  But most of us don’t want to feel what it is they want to evoke in us. In these moments of difficult feelings of fear…loss…pain…even joy…we are afraid to feel…afraid that it will be too much, overwhelming…and so we turn away.


In exploring our dreams I have learned that there is another option…we have another choice…and this is what’s so meaningful for me…to turn yet again…back towards the inner support that is found in our dreams. Trusting this simple embodied movement is not an act of willfulness but a willingness to keep turning towards…and in doing so we re-turn. Feeling our pain returns us to love, feeling our sorrow returns us to joy…space for all of who we are and the soul’s capacity to feel it all.


My own dream teacher, Rodger Kamenetz, shared that the Hebrew word, Teshuveh, usually translated as ‘to repent,’ also means ‘to return.’  I find this so beautiful, an open-armed welcoming us home to our true self.  Nowhere in our dreams does the divine come and tell us what to do, tell us to repent, tell us to be resolute and white knuckle our way through life’s challenges. Without judgment, without blame or shame, the dreams do show us how and why we learned to turn away…and if we can learn to feel into what it is they are asking then, with awareness, we continue the movement and turn again…


Our dreams simply continue to show us, in ways that are tender, challenging, painful, terrifying, laugh out loud funny…always with love…where our inner self and outer self are not in alignment, how often at very tender ages we developed skillful ways to be in the world to protect ourselves and to not feel the feelings that need and want to be felt…the very quality of soul. 


The way back is neither easy nor is it linear…it is more of a labyrinth, unlike a maze which has dead ends, as the labyrinth is the constant turning of outer towards the inner and back again. Even in those moments when we are turning away…we can choose to continue the movement and in turning once again…we return.



Mary Jo Heyen is a certified Natural Dreamwork Practitioner working with clients in person, phone or video conference. Learn more about her work with dreams at

2 thoughts on “a new year’s return…”

  1. Thank you once again for the words I needed to read this morning. I love the symbol of the labyrinth. The first time I walked the labyrinth was in Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. I bowed and proceeded toward the path. As I wound back on myself I thought I had made a mis-step. I heard the words “You are never far from the heart of God, keep going”. Blessings as we all welcome this new year. Fondly. Mona

    1. Thank you Mona…I love the phrase “keep going.” Our dreams may ask us to pause…feel in…absorb…and then we eekp going. We learn that we can continue on even as we feel our fear and our pain…

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